Great pumpkin festival

Families came out with their dogs and students from Oswego State came with friends to shop the outdoor boutiques and eat delicious goodies at Oswego County’s Great Pumpkin Festival on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Companies such as Cam’s Pizza, Canale’s Restaurant, Raby’s Hardware, Energy Nuclear and the City of Oswego funded the festival. Gina Hosofel provided her original musical styling on the Weldon Grose Memorial stage. Mothers and children sat before the stage swaying to Hosofel’s music. She told the audience that she travels all over the country to play at festivals.

The festival offered samples from many of the vendors. The butterflyed potatoes were a big hit. The potatoes were not quite as thin as potato chips and were smothered in cheese, sour cream and bacon bits. Though they seemed a bit pricey at $9 per plate from the “Spud Shack,” people were munching on them all day, regardless of the cost. There were also sausages, kettle corn, lemonade, fried dough and Cam’s pizza to satisfy everyone’s cravings.

Zeta Beta Tau, a recognized fraternity of Oswego State, came to the festival to volunteer as a credit to the Chamber of Commerce. Eddie McCormack and Anthony Agnese helped set up the festival, manage the festival and take it down. Some members of ZBT helped children make faces on their pumpkins using pieces of gourds. Kids were also able to get their faces painted.

Another part of the festival was Zombie Fest, which began with a story told by Professor Tim Nekritz, associate director of the department of Public Affairs. He read his zombie story titled “How the Zombies Won the War of 1812.” He is a zombie enthusiast as well as one of the coordinators of Zombie Fest. After the story telling, those participating did their crawl down West Bridge Street dressed in their zombie gear. If someone chose not to dress as a zombie, they could simply be “zombie-bait” said Yvonne Brown, creator and a coordinator of Zombie Fest.

“The purpose of Zombie Fest is to have something fun and new in Oswego,” Brown said. “We have a crawl to Greene’s Alehouse. People can stop in there to eat and drink. Families with little ones can go to movies and see “Hotel Transylvania” and get a free popcorn if they arrive in costume.”

Of course the Great Pumpkin Festival would not be so great without all of the enormous pumpkins. At 1,239 lbs. Roy Aletti put his recently purchased pumpkin on a flatbed attached to his truck. In order to protect the pumpkin, Aletti set it on a cushion of foam. In addition to the first pumpkin, Aletti took home a second pumpkin weighing in at 1,211 lbs.

“He’s known as Mr. Christmas,” Matt Russo, a friend of Aletti’s said. “His house is always in the local paper in Westchester County, New York because of his beautifully decorated lawn. His house will be decorated for Halloween and next for Christmas.”

The pumpkins are grown to this unimaginable size using genetically bred seeds and are very well fertilized. Manure and lots of water are needed as well.

The Great Pumpkin Festival was a great success and brought the sun out for the people of Oswego County. The festival offered good eats, music, amusements and plenty of pumpkins.

This pumpkin weighed in at 1,239 lbs. at the Great Pumpkin Festival and was purchased by Roy Aletti.
The Zombie Crawl was popular at the festival. From left to right: Yvonne Brown, Jill St. John, Mark St. John, Shaelyn St. John, Toni Pavo, Phil moore, Mindy Nichols